Sports Day in Canada: Our excellent adventure | Sports | CBC Sports

Sports Day in Canada: Our excellent adventure

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013 | 06:20 PM

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Fans sport their colours on RBC National Jersey Day at the Hillcrest Centre in Vancouver on Friday. (Scott Russell/CBC Sports) Fans sport their colours on RBC National Jersey Day at the Hillcrest Centre in Vancouver on Friday. (Scott Russell/CBC Sports)

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RBC Sports Day in Canada Road Tour continues as CBC's Scott Russell is visiting communities across the country to see how they're celebrating ahead of the big day on Saturday, Nov. 30. The fifth stop is Vancouver, where excellence was the theme on RBC National Jersey Day.

Vancouver is an Olympic city.

When it comes to climate it's not a typical Canadian city at this time of year but a city which has hosted one of the most memorable of all Winter Games.

It is, in a word, an excellent city.

And before sunrise at the Hillcrest Centre which houses the Vancouver Curling Club and remains as a legacy piece of the 2010 Olympics, we celebrated RBC National Jersey Day and the theme of excellence as it relates to sport in general and this magnificent province in particular.

As we entered the building we looked up to see myriad early risers attack treadmills and stair masters in the state of the art fitness facility.

Inside, the people here weren't shy to 300-curling-kids.jpgshow their true colours as Canucks, Lions and Whitecaps sweaters abounded not to mention the ubiquitous red and white hockey uniforms emblazoned with a Maple Leaf.

Out on the ice there were children, first generation Canadians, learning to play at curling which is, of course, truly a Canadian thing. There was a spirit of giving and an overwhelming feeling that sport is not just for the elite but for everyone who dares to give it a try.

The athletes present had amassed such great accomplishments in their high performance careers. There was rower Darcy Marquardt who has been a World champion and claimed an Olympic silver medal with the women's eights at the London 2012 Games.

Also in attendance was another rower Douglas Vandor whose been to three Olympics in Athens, Beijing and London and stood on the podium at countless world championships.  But he continues to make his mark by convening a 10K run in his home town in the province of Quebec with all proceeds going to help community based sport for kids.

300-caldwell-russell.jpgHilary Caldwell was also there.  She's the bright, young light, of Canadian aquatics and has been named the top female athlete in the country by Swimming Canada for her bronze medal performance in the 200m backstroke at this summer's world championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Caldwell is only now coming to grips with a new meaning of excellence as it relates to her future.

"To be excellent is to be great at what you do and to put in the time to get there," she figured.  "But all of a sudden people know who I am and I'll have to deal with expectations of excellence from now on."

Tyler Mosher approaches excellence from a different point of view.  He's an ex-rugby player at the University of British Columbia and was an aspiring snowboard racer before an in-competition accident rendered him partially disabled.

He stuck with his recovery and competed as a Nordic skier at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics.  But his heart was in snowboarding and so he lobbied hard for an adapted version of his sport to get onto the Paralympic roster for the Sochi 2014 Games.

He's been successful and Mosher will head for Russia to fulfill his passion this winter.

"Everybody has struggles and everybody has to set goals to get through each and every day," Mosher told me.  "Not everyone can be an elite athlete or an Olympian.  We should set our own measure of personal excellence or standard of success so that we can all progress throughout life."

300-jerseys.jpgI thought on Jersey Day it was a particularly appropriate message that Mosher delivered to the people of all ages and backgrounds who had gathered at the Hillcrest Centre.  We were all wearing our colours signifying that we all wanted to belong to the team, any team because, it seems to me, that's a very Canadian thing to do.

But beyond that there was more.

We were celebrating the wide appeal that sport has in an Olympic city and by getting closer to the field of play we were all continuing our excellent adventure.

RBC Sports Day in Canada is ready to roll at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. We're working in association with ParticipACTION and True Sport and there is high performance sport featured including World Cup bobsleigh and skeleton from COP as well as men's alpine skiing from Lake Louise.

But there are also more than 1,600 community events on our radar from coast to coast to coast. We're on the air from 1-6 p.m. ET, 10 am-3 p.m. PT and for an event close to home head to our website: www.sportsday.cbc.ca.  Don't forget to post your favourite Sports Day in Canada photos to Twitter at #sportsday.  Get out and play Canada!


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